The Woods Vol.1 TPB (BOOM! – Tynion / Dialynas)
WHY WE LOVE IT: As fans of James Tynion IV’s work in the Batman universe (BATMAN ETERNAL, RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS), we were eager to publish his first original comic series. THE WOODS gives us that same eerie, small-town horror feel we get whenever we read a Stephen King novel.
On October 16, 2013, 437 students, 52 teachers, and 24 additional staff from Bay Point Preparatory High School in suburban Milwaukee, WI vanished without a trace. Countless light years away, far outside the bounds of the charted universe, 513 people find themselves in the middle of an ancient, primordial wilderness. Where are they? Why are they there? The answers will prove stranger than anyone could possibly imagine. Collects issues #1-4 of the critically acclaimed series.
If Lord of the Flies and Lost got together and had a bastard love child, this would be it. In a bizarre case of crazy random happenstance, Bay Point High and everyone inside is instantly transported to someplace… else, in the middle of a strange and hostile forest. Within minutes of their arrival, before the panic and confusion even has a chance to settle in and make itself comfortable, students and faculty alike come under attack as creatures storm the school looking for a meal.
Factions start forming. Some of the faculty members come to the uncomfortable realization that they are completely out of their depth. Others see the situation as the perfect chance to test their mettle and take control of the out of the control situation. Several students recognize that help is not on the way, and they aren’t happy with the adults telling them to hunker down and wait.
The only indication of any sort of intelligent life in this place is an obelisk with what looks like an arrow inscribed on its surface. A group of students follow the arrow and make for the heart of the woods, and hopefully answers. What they find is a twister. Bay Point is not the first to be dropped into this place, and they are not alone.
There are a lot of well-used tropes in this story, but what saves it is some pretty decent writing and some good artwork. The characters are introduced and treated like people, not stereotypes. The environment is detailed to make it obvious that there is nothing “familiar” for the students to cling to. The menace is made very real early on as students are attacked and killed by the creatures of the forest. With the kind of carnage we’re given, it would be easy for this book to get too heavy, too dark, but we’re also given some much needed and timely doses of humor to break the tension.
Definitely a book worth looking at for something a little different and creative in a comic. I’m just sorry that this is another series that got past me… but that’s why they put out trade paperbacks, isn’t it?